Why do people resort to such violent acts as bombing, assassinations, and hi-jacking? How do individuals and organizations justify these acts of terror? These acts can be described as terrorist actions. Terrorism is a growing international problem. During the last twenty years, new terrorist groups have sprung up al lover the world. Governments have had little success in their attempts to resolve issues in which terrorism is used. A major problem in discussing terrorism is establishing a generally accepted definition. Terrorism can be described as the unlawful use of fear or force to achieve certain political, economical, or social aims. Because it is so hard to define, organizations like the United Nations have had great difficulty drawing up policies against terrorism. Within the recent century, the subject of terrorism has risen as a major problem for all major countries. The United States is a nation that is not exempt from terrorism but actually a key target for many terrorist groups. A single individual, a certain group, or even governments may commit terrorist actions. Most terrorists, unlike criminals, claim to be dedicated to higher causes, and do not believe in personal gain. The methods used in terrorism include threats, bombings, the destruction of property, kidnapping, the taking of hostages, executions, and assassinations. There are many reasons why political groups attempt to bring about radical change through terrorism. People are often frustrated with their position in society. They may in some way feel persecuted or oppressed because or their race, religion, or they feel exploited by a government. Any group that uses terrorist actions have very complex and powerful reasons to engage in those activities.
The radicals of Islam believe that our nation, he United States of America, is responsible for polluting the minds of their youth and having them stray from Islam. This belief causes the Islamic fundamentalist to pronounce the United States as the devil’s nation and the root source for all Western evils. One individual who enthusiastically believes this is Osama Bin Laden.
Osama bin Muhammad bin Awad bin Laden was born in Riyadh in 1957. He is the 17th of 52 children sired by Muhammad Bin Laden who was Saudi Arabia's wealthiest construction industrialist. During the entire period that the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, Bin Laden started forming camps of soldiers of whom he commanded himself and was reported to actually set up six camps in total as well as forming an organization known as al Qaeda. This organization was created to organize the funds and channel fighters for the Afghanistan resistance. After the Soviet Union had left, Bin Laden returned as a hero but when he started openly opposing Saddam Hussein, even though the Saudi Arabian government was on good terms with him, he was then asked to keep a low profile. As the Persian Gulf unfolded, Bin Laden sent a letter stating that he would send his troops to help defend the nation but was never asked to. Instead he was informed that the United States would be sending troops. To Bin Laden, this was a major insult and from that point on Bin laden turned his back on the royal families and instead turned to religious scholars and Muslim activist. Bin Laden circulated a letter that called for people to support him and received an estimate of 4000 people to join his cause and train at his camps. To help raise money and fund his organization, Bin Laden set up legitimate businesses in the Sudan. These included a tannery, two large farms, and a major road construction company. Reportedly his organization had three initial objectives: a) Al Qaeda should put aside its differences with Shiite Muslim terrorist organizations, including Iran and its affiliated terrorist group Hezbollah, to cooperate against the perceived common enemy, the United States and its allies; b) the US forces stationed on the Saudi peninsula, including both Saudi Arabia and Yemen, should be attacked; and c) the US forces stationed in the Horn of Africa, including Somalia, should be attacked.
The first terrorist act that the US government links Bin Laden to is the December 29, 1992 bombing of a hotel in Aden, Yemen. This was where the US troops were staying while they were en route to Somalia. The US soldiers had already left the hotel yet the bomb still killed two Austrian tourists. Two Yemeni Muslim militants, trained in Afghanistan and injured in the blast, were later arrested and linked to Bin Laden. Then on October 3rd and 4th, 1993 eighteen US troops were killed in an urban attack in Mogadishu, Somalia. The United States was split on whether to pursue an indictment on Bin Laden or his adherents in connection of the training or the planning of this attack on US soldiers. At this point in time, US intelligence believes that Bin Laden was financing at least three terrorist training camps in North Sudan, where rebels from a half-dozen nations received training. In February of 1998, Osama Bin Laden issues a joint declaration with the Islamic Group, Al Jihad, the Jihad Movement in Bangladesh and the "Jamaat ul Ulema e Pakistan" under the banner of the "World Islamic Front," which stated that Muslims should kill Americans including civilians anywhere in the world. Later that same year, on August 7th 1998, two bombs simultaneously blew up at US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The bomb in Nairobi, Kenya kills 213 people, including 12 US nationals, and injures more than 4,500. The bomb in Dar es Salaam kills 11 and injures 85. No Americans died in the Tanzania bombing. It is at this time that Osama Bin Laden is put on the FBI’s ten most wanted list.
Like many fundamentalist Muslims, Bin Laden abhors the Western Civilization for corrupting the Islamic Nations. The major nation that is held responsible would be the United States. The US is blamed for trying to destroy the Islamic nations and the Islamic people. Many believe that the United States itself is actually Satan on earth. They want a new Islamic state that will rule the world.
Modern terrorism retains some elements of the terrorism in the past. At the same time it differs because it has a wider extent in many of its methods. Today, terrorism poses a threat to innocent people, and is a serious threat to democratic forms of government. One of the characteristics of modern terrorists is their practice of taking hostages in order to force their demands upon a particular government. If demands are not met, the hostages face the threat of death. Hi-jacking commercial airlines and holding their passengers and crews hostage has become a favored method among terrorist today. In addition to terrorist groups will place bombs in public places and will have no compassion about who would be killed including innocent women or children. Countries sometimes use terrorism as a substitute for traditional warfare by providing money, training, and weapons to terrorist groups whose activities serve their national aims. Governments may also plan and carry out terrorist actions themselves, although they usually deny responsibility for them. It is unlikely that we will ever see an end to terrorism. Terrorists are not born, but created as the issues of today develop into the conflicts of tomorrow.